We are travelers on this road of life – all of us. Come pitch your tent next to mine, because I want to learn from you. I want to know how you came to your insights and how Life has shaped you, and what lessons you pass on like precious pearls to others.
Experience is sacred. For it is experience that teaches. Nothing else. It is experience alone that allows us to truly own knowledge. Think about that. Knowledge is academical until we are able to integrate it through experience. Then the path within becomes illuminated – not because you listened to a captivating sermon, or read the charismatic and enchanting words of another. But because “Know Thyself” is the most fundamental of all instructions given to man – and that does not come without incorporating what you think you know through experience.
Eons ago, I declared my need and desire to investigate other religions and discern for myself from whence came their devotion and wisdom. I said I wanted to learn how to meditate. When in front of me sat a clergyman; his mouth, like a dark cave opened in slow motion and echoed hollow words: That is best left alone. Everything from the East is heathen.
I left in haste for I was in the presence of great ignorance. Ignorance is only harmless, if it lacks an agenda. And the agenda was unmistakable.
When I stood outside with the sun on my face, I clearly knew the error of his statement. If we only ever know one thing, and keep investigating the same source, it is the very same thing as lowering your bucket down the well every day and expecting to draw anything but water to the surface.
So I took off and investigated as much as I could. I joined the festivals of many different religions and groups, I read their books and ate their food, and talked to them endlessly. I looked into the eyes of those who held different beliefs, and saw worthy human beings – who like me – were treading the path of life. Some clasped their holy books to their hearts and said that they had found the ultimate answer, others like me, knew the journey had to be internal. I began to understand that the interconnectedness of everything was a golden clue. If we are all one, and if the God spirit was everywhere and thus also within me – then the age old message, found in all the holy scriptures of the world, indeed was sound advice – to Know Thyself.The better I get to know myself, the better acquainted I become with All that is. It is logical to me that to know God without knowing yourself is a fallacy. So, you are welcome to pitch your tent next to mine. If at night, you burn incense and hum softly as you read from your Bagavad Gita or Vedic scriptures, I shall inhale the fragrance and admire your devotion, and marvel that we are all simply travelers on the same road. And while we are gathered under the stars, look about you, there will be others about their business, like you and me. Some will be reading the Koran, others cherish the Bible, or the Menassah Ben Isael – but if you’re lucky, you will notice the unassuming tent of the Bushman made of animal skins who lives in the Kalahari Desert in Africa – always pitched a little distance from all the rest. They too reach for God, but they don’t read holy books, or try to convince others of their beliefs. They worship the spirits of their forefathers personified in the elements – Fire, Air, Earth and Water. And their “knowing” might not be as academic as yours and mine – but it has an element of reverence and humility unsurpassed by any. Every expression of devotion is worthy – who are we to judge? Have you noticed that severe judgment sacrifices humility for fanaticism? And ironically, that is the very first sign of a very puny faith. Fanaticism impresses few, for all who listen to it knows that it lacks any real experience.The God spirit clothes itself in the fabric woven from our collective experiences. Interconnected as we are, every experience we learn from and integrate, benefits mankind – and adds to All that is.